Scars and Vanity
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Being a first time mom is an incredible feeling. I think many women marvel and dream of what it will be like to have their first baby. The excitement of creating new life is an amazing feeling. Most women get excited at the first kick.  The anticipation of having that beautiful, perfectly round belly that every pregnant woman is destined for…

preg001_1That is, unless your belly is marked with scars that make it uneven and lumpy.

Three years ago now, I had my first of two surgeries to remove my diseased colon and have a j-pouch and ostomy created. My second surgery consisted of the “takedown” of my ostomy. I love my j-pouch. I feel like it has given me my life back. I was a bit worried about the scars that would be permanently etched into my flesh. I used to be so vain about it all. With time, I got used to them. I learned to even love them!

Scars are evidence of a battle won.

There have been times where I proudly showed my scars to anyone and everyone who asked. Proof that I am stronger in spite of them. I earned these… and then I got pregnant.

For some women, in addition to anticipating that round pregnant belly, they also grudgingly anticipate the things that come with it. Weight gain, swelling of feet and hands, the possibility of developing line nigra (dark line on your abdomen), acne and stretch marks–just to name a few.

Women look for ways of reducing the appearance of all these things or getting rid of them all together.

We are a relatively vain culture.

We’re so obsessed with beauty and perfection that we’ve lost sight of what is truly beautiful in life. There most certainly is beauty in imperfection for those willing to see it. But vanity plagues us all at some point (or many points) in our lives. We will all fall prey to vanity in some form or fashion.surg001_1

The scars on my belly that I once learned to love began to bother me again. The hope of having that perfectly round pregnant belly was completely dashed by my scars. I have a long, vertical line down the center of my abdomen where they cut me open to remove my colon. Then I have a small one just to the right of that one where my life-saving ostomy was. My lumpy, uneven pregnant belly. And my navel… ugh. It definitely changed after surgery… and after getting pregnant, it’s about an inch off-center and is threatening to become an outie!

I can be SO vain.

Recently, while having a pity party, some new thoughts entered my mind. You know what? I’m about to have a daughter. What am I doing worrying about such things!? I’m creating a tiny, beautiful life who needs to know that beauty truly is only skin deep. So far, I’m feeling great. And she’s healthy! She needs to know that beauty isn’t everything. She needs to know where her true value lies–her character and heart! 

And so, I learned to appreciate my scars once again.surg002_1

If a picture is worth a thousand words, scars are worth even more… One day my daughter will ask about my scars; just as I asked about my mother’s scars on her abdomen (she has Crohn’s and also had to have surgery before I was born). I will tell her the story of my battle with ulcerative colitis. I will tell her about all my friends living with inflammatory bowel disease. In doing so, I will teach her to be proud of her imperfections. I will teach her to be compassionate toward others who suffer day in and day out from horrible, incurable diseases that they didn’t ask for. And I’ll hope and pray very hard that she never has to endure the pain of living with a chronic illness.

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